In researching artsy places to visit during this trip to Florida, the Orlando Museum of Art popped up. Located a little over an hour away from where I am staying, I decided that this could be a great qick day trip to make. Looking into the exhibitions, I saw Maya Lin’s name emblazoned across the top of the exhibition page! My initial surge of excitement was immediately SQUASHED by the date of the last day which was the DAY BEFORE I ARRIVED!
On a very sunny, very hot, Floridian May day I packed my brother in the car and zipped up to Orlando to get my art fix. The museum is north of downtown Orlando in a park with a few other museums. I’ve never explored this area of Orlando having only ever really been to Disney & Universal over the years. The Orlando Art Museum is a bit on the smaller side, being ever more so being partially closed off with the Maya Lin exhibition closed. They also DON’T allow photography, so I entreat you to check out their site for images, though I will attempt to describe some of it as best I can.
As you walk into main space beyond the lobby, you are instantly greeted with a Dale Chihuly installation of blue and yellow swirling its way towards the domed skylight above. This was a piece just longing to be endlessly shared on Instagram, but alas! No Photographs. Surrounding it are other contemporary works and the hallways to other exhibitions and collections.
The museum has an ongoing collection of ancient American artifacts spanning multiple eras and peoples of both continents. While I’m always down for ancient art and learning the history behind it, the whole exhibition felt rather out of place in this space. This discordance continued on a bit in the next room over with 19th century landscapes and portraits sharing the same space as many contemporary pieces which included a Nick Cave sound suit (Which was fabulous! So sad that I missed a whole exhibition of them in Boston last year! It was full of birds, which my father & grandmother would love!).
The Carlos Vega exhibition really struck the right cord with me through his colorful palate paired with dangerous materials (lead!). There was a sneak preview of his two collaged canvases in the open room with the Chihuly piece. I remember being really keen on looking at them intently and the expanded collection just helped whet that appetite for a larger scope of his work. The museum also had an Andy Warhol-centric exhibition featuring portraits of artists who had worked with Warhol by photographers closely involved with him. I gotta say that I really enjoyed the behind the scenes snapshots of Warhol at work.
All in all, I did enjoy this quick visit to Orlando. And I did get to see the Maya Lin exhibition… in the midst of being completely dismantled. Sigh.